Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
|Type||Public Policy Think Tank|
|Founder(s)||Daniel J. Elazar|
|Key people||Dore Gold (President)|
|Method(s)||"A multidisciplinary, independent non-profit think tank for Israel policy research and education, bringing together the best minds in the political, strategic, diplomatic and legal arenas, in Israel and abroad."|
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) is an Israeli research institute and public policy think tank devoted to research and analysis of critical issues facing the Middle East. The center is located in Jerusalem, Israel. Its research focuses on public diplomacy, foreign policy, international law, paradigms for regional diplomacy, and the connections between local and global terrorism. Dr. Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the UN and current Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has headed the Jerusalem Center since 2000.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs was established in 1978 by Daniel Elazar as an umbrella organization encompassing the Center for Jewish Community Studies and the Jerusalem Institute for Federal Studies. Elazar personally raised most of the funds for the operation of the organization and the restoration of an historic building on Tel Hai Street in Jerusalem, named in honor of the Milken family. The building, Beit Milken, served as the Embassy of Uruguay from 1957 to 1980, when Uruguay decided to move their embassy to Tel Aviv. In 1989, the 1,200 ton building was moved 16 meters on rails to reach the site it is currently located at.
Points of view
JCPA is a pro-Israel organisation, promoting a positive image of Israel, advocating Israel's right to exist and fighting antisemitism. It advocates the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and its lasting control of the West Bank and Golan Heights. It opposes a unilateral Palestinian drive toward statehood.
Institutes and Publications
The Jerusalem Center founded the "Institute for Contemporary Affairs" jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation. The current director of the ICA is Ambassador Alan Baker. According to the JCPA, the ICA "provides a forum for discussion of Israel’s strategic, diplomatic, legal and national security challenges ... The Institute provides briefings, publications and up-to-date analyses and information for the foreign diplomatic corps and media representatives based in Israel as well as policy makers and public opinion shapers worldwide." Through this outlet, the JCPA publishes their Jerusalem Issue Briefs, described as "Presentations by top-level political and military experts for the diplomatic corps and the foreign press", and the Jerusalem Viewpoints, described as "bimonthly, in-depth reports and analysis on changing events in Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish world." They also publish the twice-yearly Strategic Perspectives, special reports presenting studies on Israeli security and diplomacy topics by the Contributing Editors board of the ICA. The JCPA is also the publisher of the Jewish Political Studies Review, an academic journal which publishes articles on Jewish public affairs, Jewish institutions and behavior, and Jewish political thought. It is published twice yearly.
In 2008, JCPA founded the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs in response to growing international anti-Semitism. Directed by Manfred Gerstenfeld, the institute addresses a variety of topics related to Jewish communities around the world. The institute helps direct the Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism Project and it’s associated monthly publication Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, both of which attend to global anti-Semitism. More can be learned about these below in the Programs and Initiatives section. The JCPA also produces a related publication entitled Changing Jewish Communities, which is less focused on global anti-Semitism and therefore addresses a wide variety of issues related to global Jewish communities. Additionally, the JCPA has organized a publication called Jewish Environmental Studies, which looks deeply at Jewish environmental studies as a separate and important field and analyzes Jewish environmental thought through references from the Bible and classic Jewish texts.
JCPA also produces the Daily Alert for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a daily news summary and analysis concerning Israel's security and diplomacy that is distributed through email. It is estimated that this email briefing reaches over 100,000 people, and has inspired a counter-publication, the Middle East Bulletin, produced by the Center for American Progress (CAP), to counter right-wing pro-Israel bias in the Daily Alert.
In addition to their written publications, the JCPA produces numerous Videos that analyze a variety of issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East. These include videos created by the center as well as videos of JCPA contributors appearing in various news outlets or conference venues. The videos can be found on the JCPA home website or on the JCPA’s YouTube page.
The JCPA has released multiple publications recently that discuss relevant topics relating to Israeli security and diplomacy. One, written by Nadav Shragai, is called The "Al-Aksa is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie and describes the lie continuously promoted by Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim groups and individuals that Israel intends to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Another, called Changing Forms of Incitement to Terror and Violence: The Need for a New International Response, was written by Alan Baker. In response to the increasing attention given to Iran, the JCPA compiled Iran: From Regional Challenge to Global Threat, a collection of essays by various experts that address many aspects of the current discourse surrounding Iran. The JCPA also released a book titled Israel's Critical Security Requirements for Defensible Borders, which summarizes the history of conflict along Israel's borders and emphasizes the importance of Israel's maintaining defensible borders.
On March 24, 2014, the Jerusalem Center held a conference entitled “Europe and Israel: A New Paradigm.” The conference focused on the complicated relationship between Israel and Europe, including topics like economics and the BDS, security, and Anti-Semitism. The conference was well attended and received a significant amount of press, including articles in The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, J-Wire, Ynetnews, and CBN News.
Programs and Initiatives
Defensible Borders Initiative
The JCPA is committed to the cause of securing defensible borders for the state of Israel, and due to that commitment the center includes a Defensible Borders Initiative. The initiative supports Israel's right to hold “territory beyond Israel’s internationally recognized border for strategic depth between a hostile force and Israeli population centers.” On October 19, 2004 the JCPA and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee jointly organized a conference on the defensible borders issue that provided a kick-start for JCPA's Defensible Borders Initiative. The initiative has since provided seminars, briefings, and publications on the issue of defensible borders.
Iran and the New Threats to the West
This program focuses on security threats posed by Iran to Israel and the West. The program began with a publication entitled “Referral of Iranian President Ahmadinejad on the Charge of Incitement to Commit Genocide,” authored by Dore Gold and Elie Weisel, among others. The publication was created in response to multiple threats directed toward Israel by the Iranian leader, including a 2006 declaration that “Israel should be wiped off the map.” The JCPA continues to monitor security threats posed by Iran in the post-Ahmadinejad era with this program.
Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism Project
This program addresses contemporary anti-Semitism on a global scale. It also addresses post-Holocaust subjects, particularly the manipulation of Holocaust history. The idea for the project was conceived of following a 2001 UN Anti-Racism conference that revealed a global resurgence of anti-Semitism. It includes a publication entitled Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism. Manfred Gerstenfeld heads the project.
Global Law Forum
This program covers issues pertaining to Israel and international law. The goal of the program is to “protect Israel’s legal rights in its conflict with the Palestinians, the Arab world, and radical Islam.” Topics include the legality of settlements, human rights, and Israeli border issues, among others. Avi Bell directs the program. Additional contributors include Robert Sabel, Ruth Lapidoth, Irit Kohn, Alan Baker, Meir Rosenne, and Justus Weiner.
Amb. Freddy Eytan served in multiple posts for the Israeli government, perhaps most notably as Israel’s first ambassador to Mauritania. He is particularly valued at the center for his expertise in French-Israeli relations.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is an Austrian-born author who serves in multiple posts for JCPA. He edits the Jewish Political Studies Review, co-publishes Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, and Changing Jewish Communities, and directs the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs. In 2012, Gerstenfeld received the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) from the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
Jonathan Halevi is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is a senior researcher on the Middle East and radical Islam at JCPA. He is also the co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.
Dr. Jacques Neriah formerly served as a foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and as the Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military intelligence. He serves as a special analyst for the Middle East at JCPA.
Michael Segall is a writer who serves as a senior analyst at JCPA. His focus is on Iran, terrorism, and the Middle East. He is also a senior political analyst at Terrogence.
Dr. Shimon Shapira served as the former Military Secretary to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He edited and authored the forward for JCPA’s publication Iran: From Regional Power to Global Threat.
Justus Reid Weiner is a University of California, Berkeley law school graduate and scholar-in-residence at JCPA. He specializes in human rights and international law. He has received much acclaim for his work concerning the challenges facing Palestinian Christians. Weiner also teaches courses on human rights and international law at Hebrew University.
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- "Contact Us". JCPA. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "About the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs". JCPA. 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
- "ETH Zürich". Isn.ethz.ch. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
- "About the Jerusalem Center". jcpa.org. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
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- "Uruguay Embassy Leaves Jerusalem". The Age. 1980-08-18. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Our Building: A Protected Jerusalem Landmark". Jcpa.org. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- Defensible Borders for a Lasting Peace. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2008
- JCPA on YouTube: Dividing Jerusalem Puts Holy Sites in Danger; Israel's Right to Build in Jerusalem; Israel's Critical Security Needs for a Viable Peace
- Jerusalem Center Brochure 2010-2011.
- "Israelization of Washington Policy: the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs". CambridgeForecast.org. 2004-08-01. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- "About Alan Baker". AmbassadorAlanBaker.com. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- "Institute of Contemporary Affairs". JCPA.org. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- "JCPA Strategic Perspectives". Isn.ethz.ch. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Introduction". Jewish Political Studies Review 23: 2. Spring 2011.
- "E-Publications". ConferenceofPresidents.org. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Soros and Hillary:Partners on Israel?". AmericanThinker.com. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Liberal Mideast Newsletter to Launch". The Jewish Daily Forward, Forward.com. 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- Alan Baker (diplomat)
- Freddy Eytan
- Manfred Gerstenfeld
- Justus Weiner